Pick of the Political Pops: Blue Mink “Melting Pot”

Fairly soon there is to be a major celebration which happens at the same time every year. Here at Americana-UK we fall fairly evenly into two camps – those that consider it the most wonderful time of the year and those that consider that we have fallen under the jackboot of emotional fascism. Obviously our differences are settled as soon as we repair to The Bunker for pints of sweet sherry and crème de menthe chasers. We were surprised to learn that one major retailer had come under fire for having the temerity to suggest it was ok to partake in the celebrations if you were other than white (and we assume Christian). How sad. This tune makes us feel better.

David Crosby “Sky Trails” (BMG, 2017)

David Crosby always wanted to sing jazz, and he made some forays into jazzier territory even within The Byrds with songs like Mind Gardens, but has really only indulged this urge more fully within the most recent releases from the duo Crosby-Nash and, most completely, with his work with CPR. Sky Trails features the R of CPR – in the form of Crosby’s biological son James Raymond – across the album and as producer whilst the P – that’s Jeff Pevar – appears on one track. Perhaps unsurprisingly Sky Trails sounds quite CPR-ish. Continue reading “David Crosby “Sky Trails” (BMG, 2017)”

Russell And the Wolf Choir “Every Spark Is An Indication” (Independent, 2017)

A mini-LP with something of a Californian West Coast vibe, yet delivered from the wilds of Essex. On vinyl too! Russell and The Wolf Choir actually nail a power pop/indie sound pretty well in the first part of this record. Big fuzzy choruses abound, with hints of Pixies guitars, Teenage Fanclub harmonies, Tom Petty arrangements (God rest his soul) and suitably non-bombastic vocals. Continue reading “Russell And the Wolf Choir “Every Spark Is An Indication” (Independent, 2017)”

Dan Michaelson “Careless” – Listen

There’s nothing careless about this track – the string section is magnificent, Dan Michaelson’s cracked vocal is simply embodying the distress of unravelling love.  Someone should check Dan’s ok.  But before you do that take a listen to the second single from his upcoming album First Light, which will be out early December.

Video: The Rockingbirds “Gradually Learning”

In the week when the UK Americana Association has announced that its Grass Roots Award for 2018 will go to Alan Tyler and Steve Pulford (and quite right too) it seems appropriate to have a track from Alan’s Rockingbirds for this weeks retro slot.  Something from The Arlenes next week.  Have a good weekend everyone.

The Travelling Band “Mopping Forwards” – Listen

New single Mopping Forwards sees the Travelling Band’s trademark “Mancunian Americana” take the inspiration for lyrics sparked after long night at a bar in Manchester’s Northern Quarter where lead singer and songwriter Jo Dudderidge used to play a regular Country DJ set: “There was a new guy working his first shift and at the end of the night, he got the mop and bucket out ready to clean the floor. But he started pushing the mop forwards instead of backwards: he was walking the dirt off his shoes right into the floor he’d just cleaned… and he carried on regardless; I’m not sure he even noticed what he was doing. I thought it made a wry metaphor for life, and the lyrics to Mopping Forwards stemmed from there.” If you’ve ever tried mopping forwards, it’s actually quite difficult to do.

Hayley Thompson-King “Psychotic Melancholia, Hard To Kill Records, 2017

It is only with the closing track here that you’d know that HTK is a trained opera singer, the rest of the time she is belting out garage rock like No Room for Jesus or immersing herself in good old country music as on her straight-ahead take on Old Flames Can’t Hold a Candle to You. Whatever she does, she does with conviction, never shying away from raw emotion; whether it’s the Breeder’s like Teratoma or the feral rock and roll of Lot’s Wife, she doesn’t mind shredding her vocal chords for the cause. Continue reading “Hayley Thompson-King “Psychotic Melancholia, Hard To Kill Records, 2017”